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Ohio High School Football Coaches Fired after Player Says He Was Forced to Eat Pork

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The Canton City Board of Education unanimously voted not to renew the contracts of six McKinley Senior High School coaches for forcing a player to eat pepperoni pizza after missing a voluntary workout. These include head football coach Marcus Wattley, two assistants, three assistant football coaches, and an assistant baseball coach.

What We Know:

  • The district originally placed the six on administrative leave after learning about the incident. According to the district, the six knew the boy practiced the Hebrew Israelite faith; they also knew the religion prohibits its members from eating pork or its derived products.
  • To verify the athlete’s claims, the Board of Education conducted an investigation. While analyzing the allegation’s details, Superintendent Jeff Talbert reviewed surveillance footage, proving the boy told the truth. After this, Talbert called a special board meeting and made his decision on the coaches’ fates. Additionally, Talbert announced he would not release the recording due to federal student privacy regulations.

“What is on that video shows that what happened on May 24 is an ill-mannered attempt to instill accountability and discipline in our students,” said Talbert. “The type of behavior was inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive.”

  • The board confirmed athletic director Antonio Hall would replace Wattley as interim head football coach for the 2021 season. Furthermore, the district disqualified the three assistant football coaches from holding future coaching positions.
  • Wattley’s attorney Peter Pattakos denied the accusations. He declared that the boy exaggerated some details and made up others. He also blamed an unknown assistant coach who told administrators and the player’s family an embellished version of the story. Alongside this, five football players and the other coaches remarked that Wattley offered the boy chicken nuggets instead of the pizza; they also said the boy could have left whenever. Despite this, the boy stayed and just removed the pepperoni slices from the pizza.

“This young man is one of the most talented members of the team and he’s… not showing up to practices… The idea was, ‘Okay young man, you’re so special? You want special treatment? Are you hungry? I’ll buy you a pizza and we can all watch you eat,” Patakos commented. Furthermore, he said the boy understood he was being punished.

  • Ed Gilbert, the teen’s attorney, said he skipped the optional practice four days before the incident to nurse a sore shoulder. On the day of the occurrence, the coaches demanded the boy sit in the middle of the gym and eat the entire pizza. Although they allowed him to remove the pepperoni and cheese, some pork residue remained. If the boy did not follow Wattley’s orders, he would face additional drills and a lower rank on the team.

A statement written by Talbert and read by Board President John M. Rinaldi emphasized that although the football team holds a “long and proud history” at the school, the instructors’ actions do not reflect the district’s duty to protect the physical and emotional wellbeing of the students.

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Lifestyle

New Survey Reveals Young People Admire Queen, Harry, and Meghan More Than William and Kate

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In preparation for the first Youth Mental Health Day, mental health charity stem4 asked 1000 young people in the UK which public figures they most respected. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle made the Top Three.

What We Know:

  • Stem4 conducted their research on people ages 13 to 25 between May 26-29. The Queen won 25% of the vote, Harry received 22%, and Meghan came third with 21%. Following these three were  Bill Gates (17%), Dr. Alex George (16%), Boris Johnson (14%), Kate Middleton (11%), and Prince William (10%). Princess Diana was an honorable mention in this section as well.
  • According to Stem4, the youths reported that they admired the Top Three because of their bravery and resiliency, especially in the face of criticism. They also enjoyed that they defend the rights of others and “make society a better place.”
  • In the Inspirational Figures section, David Attenborough made up 54% of the responses, the highest of the category. The Top Three made the list as well, alongside others such as Billie Eilish and Oprah Winfrey. Stem4’s founder and chief executive, Dr. Nihaura Krause, said these people influenced the youth because of their openness about their own mental health challenges.
  • In response to the results, Dr. Krause stated that one does not need a fortune or good looks to earn the respect of young people.

“Problems like anxiety, depression and self-harm are sadly very common among young people and it makes a huge difference to them when public figures have the courage to open up,” Krause declared.

  • In addition, Stem4 conducted a survey to study the “wider hopes and aspirations” of young people after the pandemic. 70% answered they wanted happiness, 56% wished for a stable job, and only 27% desired to make a lot of money.

The United Kingdom will hold the inaugural Youth Mental Health Day on September 7. Founded by stem4, the celebration will encourage understanding and discussion of mental health in youths so they can live “happy and healthy lives.”

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Barack Obama Addresses Daughters Sasha and Malia Participating in Black Lives Matter Protests

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Former President Barack Obama discussed his pride in daughters Malia and Sasha’s activism in Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests during his interview with Anderson Cooper.

What We Know:

  • Barack mentioned that he worries more about Malia and Sasha’s physical safety than their protesting. He trusts that they know the difference between right and wrong and that they understand their role in making the country better.
  • The former president also indicated his daughters are wiser, more sophisticated, and gifted than he was at their ages. While he and Cooper would have just accepted the way things were in terms of systemic racism, his daughters question it, Barack states.

“There’s this sense of, well of course it’s not acceptable for a criminal justice system to be tainted by racism. Of course, you can’t discriminate against somebody because of their sexual orientation. They’re things they take for granted, that I want them to take for granted,” said Barack.

  • Furthermore, Barack announced that his daughters want to make real change. Malia and Sasha don’t want to “just make noise,” so they became very strategic about engaging in and changing the system.
  • An example of this includes Malia and Sasha mistrusting cancel culture. Barack says that they don’t expect perfection from people, but they will call out institutions or individuals for their wrongdoings or discriminations against others.
  • Barack also explained how he feels his daughters and the generation of children who grew up during his presidency will continue his legacy. In fact, the younger people working to enact justice for people of color are a “great source of optimism” for the 44th President.

Barack has previously spoken about Malia and Sasha’s participation in BLM rallies. Last November, he told People that neither he nor his wife Michelle urged the girls to engage in any events. In fact, they went out, “very much in organizer mode,” and found ways to help out without attracting attention.

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Coronavirus

Journal of Neuroscience Study Finds Psychological Importance of Face-to-Face Interaction

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Image credit: Naeblys/Shutterstock.com

Following a pandemic filled with online social events and strict gathering restraints, many Americans are now accustomed to socializing, working, and spending leisure time online. Bonding in-person, however, has strong mental, physical, and emotional benefits originating in distinct brain stimulation.

What We Know:

  • Evidence using EEG (electroencephalogram) brain scans suggests real-life socialization activates stronger connections and comfort levels compared to digital socialization. The study created three groups: one that was exposed to photos of a person, another that was exposed to a television show with a person in it, and the last actually meeting a person. EEGs were taken for members of each group both before and after the exposure, measuring familiarity and identity activity in the brain.
  • Researchers discovered a high familiarity quality for the physical interaction group, a low familiarity quality for the group exposed to a TV show, and nonexistent familiarity for the group exposed to only photos of a person. Strong familiarity is tied to faster and more intense connections, demonstrating the importance of face-to-face interaction for building relationships.
  • The face-to-face interaction group only spent 3 hours with a person while the other groups spent 20 hours watching a person on television or 20 hours looking at photos, yet the face-to-face group still made stronger connections. Exemplified is the rapid familiarity and connection built between two people interacting in person.
  • In the digital age, as well as during COVID, online communication is normal. Consequentially, with in-person communication falling second, communicators miss out on reading body language and picking up on nearly unrecognizable facial changes. In-person communication is especially important for children, many of which have been out of school due to pandemic safety measures. Face-to-face communication helps children build skills that enhance their socioemotional development.

Face-to-face meetups provide the dopamine and oxytocin that support trust, bonding, and connection to others. For overall health, wellbeing, and happiness, socializing in real life is a scientifically significant aspect.

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